Thursday, February 26, 2009


I'm pretty sure that was her name. She was a gorgeous young girl, 13, maybe 14 years old, with long jet black hair. Her eyes were deep and brown against her olive skin. She looked older than her tender years and I knew that very soon she would be an exotic beauty. She left an anonymous question for me yesterday, after I finished my presentation in her 8th grade health class.

It went something like this:

"So my mom is being abused, and she will not leave, for all of the reasons that we discussed today. She will not listen to me, and I am scared. I don't know what to do."

Today, during Day Two of my presentation, I could tell the question came from her. Or at least I'm pretty sure it did. As I answered the question during our anonymous question and answer session today I noticed the flicker of remembrance cross her face. I saw as her body slumped slightly down into her desk chair. As I addressed her question, I watched as she slowly dropped her head into her hand, covering her eyes. A minute later, I caught her eyes as she peered over her hand. Her eyes looked lost, almost desperate, as though she needed saving. Even as I namelessly encouraged her to seek help, to talk to a trusted adult, to talk to her best friend, to have a safety plan for her and her mom, she never looked reassured. It will take me a long time to process Sophia.

Tell someone Sophia. Tell someone....

Monday, February 23, 2009

Spring Fever

I can't stand it! I am so ready for spring (as I write this on a cold Feb evening). I'm tired of the cold, the wind, and I've almost used up all my firewood. Its time for Spring! I should take heart though, Spring is right around the corner. Finally, my jonquils are up and blooming. I've watched them for about a week now and they have finally opened. I wanted to post some pictures from last year's roses and peonies, and a lone little petunia. I have alot of pink, huh? Hurry Spring!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

My Cause

Did you know....

Only 15% of women are familiar with the symptoms of ovarian cancer.
82% of women have never talked to their doctor about the symptoms and risk factors of ovarian cancer.
54% of women who haven’t spoken to their doctor about ovarian cancer don’t think it’s an issue since their doctor never initiated the discussion.
40% of women stated they are not sure about the risk factors of ovarian cancer

67% of women incorrectly believe that a yearly Pap test is effective in the diagnosis of ovarian cancer.
Many women incorrectly identified the use of high dose estrogen without progesterone (35 percent) and extended use of the birth control pill (27 percent) as risk factors.
Women who have used oral contraceptives for three or more years have about a 30-50 percent lower risk of developing ovarian cancer.
53% of women are familiar with the symptoms of breast cancer while only 15% are familiar with the symptoms of ovarian.
59% of women have talked to their doctor about breast cancer; only 18% have talked to their doctor ovarian cancer.

In women age 35-74, ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer-related deaths. An estimated one woman in 58 will develop ovarian cancer during her lifetime. The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2008, there will be 21,650 new cases of ovarian cancer and 15,520 women will die from ovarian cancer.
Because each woman diagnosed with ovarian cancer has a different profile, it is impossible to give a general prognosis. If diagnosed and treated early, when the cancer is confined to the ovary, the 5-year survival rate is over 90%. Unfortunately, due to ovarian cancer’s non-specific symptoms and lack of early detection tests, the only 19% of all cases are found at this early stage. If caught in stage III or higher, the survival rate can be as low as 29%.
(Source: American Cancer Society)

Ovarian Cancer is a silent cancer. It whispers, so listen.

Please go to and learn more about ovarian cancer. The symptons are very very difficult to detect in the early stages, and by the time a woman is suffering from the symptoms, it is usually detected in a late stage, where survival rates drop dramatically. Ladies, do your research, educate yourself, talk to your doctor, and please please heighten the awareness of this silent killer. We have done wonderful things for breast cancer, and look how dramatically education and survival rates have soared over the last 20 years. Let us not overlook ovarian cancer. Afterall, it is the fifth leading cause of cancer deaths.

Look around the ovarian cancer website, look at the "Medical" and "Break the Silence" tabs on the left side bar. And for a treat, link to the marketplace at the bottom of the page, and check out the links to the cool jewelry and gorgeous notecards.

Thank you Kathi, for adding the Break the Silence icon and link (found here on my sidebar) to your blog.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I Had A Dream

Last night. It was a dream intermingled with memories. It went something like this.

It was the summer of my 9th year. School had ended only a week before. I had come to Savannah with my grandmother, to spend several weeks with her, and my great grandmother. Just yesterday we had traveled from Savannah down to St Simons Island, to the house that belonged to my great grandfather. In the years that had followed his death, my great grandmother had felt the need to return to the island several times a year, just to maintain the home. I thought maybe she really wanted to re-live memories, and perhaps feel my great grandfather’s spirit there.

This particular evening, I had wandered out of the house, in search of my magical friends. I left Frederica Road, and wandered down the sandy road, toward the marsh, and where the coloreds lived. The evening was hot and steamy, the kind of evening where the air you breathe feels warm and wet. Summer evenings on St Simons Island were like a sauna. Within minutes a person would be wet, with clothing sticking to her as though the very air around her melded with the ocean. I kicked at the sand along the road, occasionally kicking up a piece of an old oyster shell. I thought it was wonderful how different it was from the paths and roads I was accustomed to at home, red clay with hard rocks and pebbles. On St Simons, the earth was soft, and sandy, and hid secrets, such as oyster and small pieces of nautilus and scallop shells. As I drew closer, I could smell the marsh long before I saw it. It was a smell like salt and earth, pungent yet sweet.
As I approached the small shack, just off the sandy road, another smell danced on the breeze. It was the smell of smoke and the earthy briny smell of oysters over a wood fire. I heard the low soft voices of the men as they sang, deep, slow, haunting songs. I couldn’t understand the words. The Gullah refrains were like another language to me. But I knew they were songs about suffering and hope, and Jesus. I hung back a few seconds, gathering the courage to approach them. They had not yet seen me. The men seemed intent on the open fire and lost in the soulfulness of their songs. Slowly I approached them, feeling my shyness welling up inside me, fearful of my intrusion into their strange world. I tried to avoid them, as I slowly made my way toward the front porch of the shabby cottage.

“Girl, come over heah.” I held my breath as I approached the tall dark man who was waving me over to him. “Come heah!”

“Um, are Frances and Boo Cat here?”

“Ain’ t you Miz Adora’s baby?”

“Uh-huh. I’m here with my granny and great granny. I came to see if Boo Cat and Frances can play.”

“Yo Grandmama know you down heah?”

“No. I was just gonna see if Boo Cat and Frances could come up to my house.” My grandmothers would have a fit if they knew I had gone down to the colored’s house. I knew better than to ask for permission. My plan had been to sneak off down to Boo Cat and Frances’ house and see if they could come up to my house and play. As though my grandmothers would think they had come to see me.

“I know yo grandmamma ain’t llowin’ you to be down heah. You head on back home now fo you get us all in trouble. I tell Boo Cat and Frances that you’s is heah fo a few days. You’uns can play tomorrah.”

About that time I heard the screen door slam and I jumped as it startled me in my already nervous condition. Down the steps and across the yard ran my magical friend. He was dirty, barefoot, clothed only in ragged shorts cut from some old dungarees. His face was lit up with a smile so white against his dark skin, and as wide as the Frederica River. He ran up to me and just stopped. Shyness suddenly overwhelmed us both and he hung back shuffling his feet in the sandy earth. It was summer again, and I had come back to the island, to his world.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

A Day In Washington DC

Just a few snapshots from a day spent in DC, the day after the inauguration. It was a beautiful sunny day, the sky was bright blue, but cold cold cold. I love DC, one of my favorite cities in the world.

The WWII Memorial...D-Day

The Capitol, still draped in flags from the day before.

The Jefferson Memorial

A cute pot of tea, shared by Patti and I at the Tavern Restaurant at Mount Vernon the following day.